A free-flowing layout, a host of enviable artworks and statement designer furniture make this Zhejiang penthouse a glamorous sanctuary.
When the female owner of the house is not busy conquering the urban jungle outside her door, she can just kick-back and relax in her glamorous sanctuary. In transforming a two-storey duplex in Zhejiang Province, China, into her vision, YuQiang & Partners teamed up with EK Design, bringing together their modernist sensibility and design flair to the fore.
“The female client craves freedom and wants to follow her love for art and fashion in the private resort residence. The idea was to craft an environment that’s elegant and serene, able to generate richness and a sense of belonging,” says the design team.
The task up front was restructuring the spacious penthouse made up of two units that were purchased by the client and sprawled 6,996 square feet in total area.
“The layout was fragmented and scattered – way too rigid for our design concept to work. The space divided symmetrically by four pillars also resulted in a lack of fluidity,” noted the design team.
The fact they wanted to protect the house’s surrounding environment meant that a complete gutting of the structural backbone was out of the question, and it prompted some unorthodox thinking from the creatives.
“We approached it by way of ‘deconstructivism’, using the available range of artworks and furniture to define the functionality of each zone,” they explain, referring to the postmodern architecture style emerging in the 1980s and characterised by a loss of continuity and symmetry.
As it transpired, breaking down the penthouse’s constructed structure unleashed infinite possibilities, allowing the team to play around with forms and functions. While the four solid pillars remain intact, the abode is now teeming with asymmetric, three-dimensional and curving forms; the interplay of light and shadow accentuated by an enviable slew of artworks and designer furniture.
“By extending and reshaping the space, the residence now accommodates the many functions of a private resort, including a guest
reception, large gathering and entertainment area.”
The female homeowner is a keen collector of contemporary art and the proof of this passion has been channelled into the luxurious duplex, with an array of gems, including surrealism artist Patrick Hughes’ original million-yuan-worth 3D artwork and a lively wood paint sculpture by Jacky Tsai, sprinkled throughout.
A centrepiece without doubt is the Bocci’s cascading chandelier made from irregular glass bubbles, hung within the spiral staircase in the entrance lobby. Cutting an extraordinary
sculptural silhouette into an otherwise awkward break between the entrance lobby and the living room, the pristine staircase, with a curved-glass railing and tilt warm sunlight from the roof windows, fans warmth and radiance across the apartment.
The two-storey living room sees the white cream walls and flooring mingle naturally with the owner’s prized furniture collection. A three- metre-long linear chandelier; a Moroso beige sofa; a handmade bronze Traccia side table designed by Dalí; Gubi’s retro-style blue velvet armchair; and the eye-catching wool carpet from cc-tapis, are just some of the highlights of the spectacular range.
In between the living room and the dining room, the design team went for a bar-shaped marble table and dark green stool chairs, painting the space with a laid-back, inviting ambience. Walking past it leads to a spacious dining area, perfect for big get-togethers. A large round dining table (which can sit around eight people) is surrounded by a set of tangerine- coloured chairs, and together with the wood carving painting in vibrant colours, the vivid hues bring in just the right bit of vibrancy without overwhelming the space.
Hanging overhead the dining table is the dynamic light sculpture Porca Miseria, designed by German artist Ingo Maurer. Evocative of an explosion in a kitchen cabinet, the hanging lamp is constructed of fragments of dishes, cups, and cutlery attached to a structure made of metal rods, illuminating from a central lighting element and imbuing the relatively minimalistic space with vigour and vitality.
On the other flank of the living room sits a tea room and a vintage-style chess/poker room tucked behind a wooden wall. There’s little excess adornment in the quiet tea tasting corner – which features a set of oak chairs and a Tom Dixon-designed long brass table – except for, perhaps, yet another famed pendant light of Maurer dubbed the Zettel’z. The statement lamp has wire sprouting out of it to hold up all those bits of Post-it notes.
Up the coils of the staircase is the calming place of respite. The master bedroom opts for a modern bed from B&B Italia and the headboard wall is anything but ordinary: constituted by a wooden veneer, the surface is split into various shapes and sizes. Though elusive with a blink-and-you-miss-it effect, the resulting tableau alongside the round-shaped wall light illustrates the Chinese idiom of “Falling Moon and Rising Sun” with the alluring sensuality of a poet.
Meanwhile, the wooden veneer, creamy background, and minimalist furniture and bed set permeate the other four bedroom suites with quietness, balanced off by statement rugs in bright hues and bold patterns.
A fuss-free lifestyle made possible by the liberation of design.